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  • An article reproduced from the Amp Journal

Are you ready for the jobs of the future?


There’s no shortage of breathless predictions about what the workforce of the future will look like. There’ll be robots, seamless video conferencing, and just maybe an in-house coffee service.

But what about the people working in the jobs of the future? Which skills adorn their CVs? What are the attributes that see them working among an automated workforce, rather than being replaced by it?

For demographer Bernard Salt, it comes down to one word – and it’s one you may not have heard before: fit-in-ability.

“Fitting in means taking your skill sets and adapting, and you need to be sufficiently fluid to just allow the slings and arrows of life to just glide off you.”

“Fit-in-ability is being able to fit into the circumstances you are confronted with,” Salt said, speaking after his appearance at AMP’s 2018 Amplify event.

“Some people suggest you need to be a chameleon. But that’s just adopting a particular colour or hue, it’s not actually changing your skills, it’s not actually taking some skills, and losing others.”

Fitting in is one of several traits Salt identified as crucial to success, along with being articulate, able to argue your case, and self-confident.

“Fitting in means taking your skill sets and adapting, and you need to be sufficiently fluid to just allow the slings and arrows of life to just glide off you.”

But how and where does one attain fit-in-ability? There’s no Bachelor of it at any university across the world, you can’t take an after work TAFE course in it. According to Salt, society has a role to play here.

"If someone makes a mistake, social media tends to amplify that. It’s not over until there’s complete humiliation.”

“As a society or a community, or an organisation, if you cultivate a culture where adaptability is rewarded, where people can see role models who are seemingly unphased by things going wrong, where there doesn’t seem to be payback for people making honest, reasonable mistakes – you can’t make too many mistakes – but you need to be able to show that people can recover from situations,” he said.

“I’m not sure that we’ve got that culture at the moment, particularly in social media. If someone makes a mistake, social media tends to amplify that. It’s not over until there’s complete humiliation.”

From a man who still gets tweeted pictures of smashed avocado multiple times a day, the point rings true.

But is it enough to trust Salt? What makes him different from the other self-appointed oracles?

For one, demography isn’t a crystal ball, but rather the exercise of examining our past to better prepare ourselves for the future. It is, according to Salt, a kind of futurism.

“Looking at key demographics through time you can actually get a perspective on how a society, or an economy, or values have changed. But you need to be able to interpret the data.”

“A lot of people say I think this, or I think that. With demographics, there’s a logic to it. Here’s where we were, here’s where we are, here’s we should go, if we actually take that trajectory.”

Now that you have an idea of the trajectory, do you think you will fit into the future?

An article reproduced from the Amp Journal, July 2018


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